Fools Circle

Blackpool Tower EP

The first of four on this EP starts promisingly, fusing washed out indie guitar picking with the melodic sensitivity of early Ash or Teenage Fanclub. The vocals are ropey, and the mix is a bit vocal heavy, but I�m quite enjoying it until I hit skip track, at which point I become exposed to a bunch of stadium rock wannabes who can�t even spell the word �what� correctly. �Blackpool Tower� is marginally better, but with lyrics like �burn that fucking tower down� and �why don�t you kill the queen?� you can almost smell John Lydon posed quietly round the corner with his machete, just waiting to take these plagiarists down.

Vicki Cole

Muse

Knights Of Cydonia

The Magnificent Seven meets Mars Attacks! in the latest single from Mercury-nominated album Black Holes & Revelations, and not a moment too soon. Mixing Queen-style operatics with a sci-fi sensibility and that trademark Muse sound, this is the soundtrack to the weird battles that rage inside Matt Bellamy�s head. Supercharged, supernova, and just downright super, this is quite possibly the best thing the band have produced to date, and one of the most original singles to be released this side of 2010. Revelatory.

Dan Coxon

Rob Sharples

So the Story Goes

Hailing from Bristol, Rob Sharples finds himself releasing his most recent EP on Marrakesh Records, the brainchild of Lizard King co-owner Dom Hardistry. It must be a match made in heaven, because this music is just lovely. Production and mixing is helmed by Paul Corkett (Bjork, Placebo, Nick Cave) who gently steers picked guitar arpeggios and heart wrenching strings around Sharples’ sensitive yet yearning voice. The northern star of this vessel is undisputedly opening track ‘So the Story Goes’, in which we find Sharples commenting vividly on the industrialisation of his beloved homeland. Third track ‘The Detail Between Us’ is less universal, focusing more on intimate moments between Sharples and his girlfriend. The backing vocals are skeletal, hanging fragile beneath a much stronger amalgamation of guitar and voice. Contrasting to the rest of the EP, ‘Scratching out the Absolute’ begins as a fond homage to Belle and Sebastian and rises to become a feverous folk ditty. For once, the Nick Drake comparisons are justified.

Vicki Cole

Good Shoes

The Photos On My Wall

Persevering with the jerking strut-rock that made �All In My Head� a surprise indie hit, Good Shoes continue to build their �next big thing� reputation with this short-but-sweet single. It might not have the instant appeal of their previous effort, but it�s still a particularly tasty slice of attitude-driven guitar pop. Put on your most tattered shoes and shuffle along with their fashionably unkempt melodies, before the rest of the country catch on.

Dan Coxon

Mr Hudson and The Library

Too Late, Too Late

Mr Hudson and the Library are a self-described ‘cross-pollination of hip hop, reggae beats and classic song writing’. That sounds like an interesting blend from the start.
It is clear from the first listen that Mr Hudson sees himself as part of the new breed of British artists who wax lyrical about today’s ‘yoof culture’. Now this we know works for some, Lily Allen has done quite well signing about going for a walk through London and watching old women get mugged. Arctic Monkey’s have won a Mercury Prize for documenting trips to the local indie club and hiding in bushes from policemen. Mr Hudson recounts similar tales over his horn-tinged, summer reggae beats with subtle hints of electronica, (Now I need a line/This time the chat-up kind). Unfortunately he comes across more Robbie Williams goes ska than Mike Skinner. One of two things have gone wrong for Mr Hudson; he doesn’t have the charm or gimmick appeal many off his peers do, or he’s missed the boat with the crossover step taken by the likes of Miss Allen or Jamie T. All too ironically, Mr Hudson may be ‘Too Late’.

Laura Jane Donnachie

Senses Fail

Calling All Cars

Yawn. A poor man�s Green Day, too soft for the heavy metal crowd, too upbeat to be emo. Senses Fail have fired and missed at every target audience with this monstrosity of a record that deserves to be burned more violently than a Jade Goody effigy. It�s about as unique as a wet weekend in Scotland and probably just as welcome. It just reeks of desperation, a record so utterly out of touch listening becomes painful. Everything about this just reeks of a lack of ideas. Avoid.

Paul MacDonald

The Gossip

Standing in the Way of Control

These crazy Yanks – coming over here, stealing our women and our number one spots in our well respected cool lists… All the recent �media� fluff surrounding The Gossip can�t take away from the awesome dancefloor credentials of this tune; demented vocals; a blood broiling, infectious bass loop and crashing drums; all perfect for some no brainer dancefloor carnage. Undeniably it stirs a lot of energy, which is perfect because it�s all about a demand for civil rights and gay marriage in the US, or something. The awesome remixes, care of Soulwax and Headman, are so danceable you kind of forget the point behind it.

Laura Doherty

My Alamo

994

Oh Lord, do we really need another Welsh rock band with strangely convincing American accents? Judging by the look of the art work, (which is laden with rough typography and ghostly butterflies) this single probably consists of yet another bunch of whiney emo kids drowning their sorrows and lining their eyes with smoky kohl. But as it turns out, My Alamo are actually a completely different breed from Lost Prophets. There�s some heavy palm muting and meaty metal riffage, with the middle eight offering something a little more interesting as it stumbles into an insanely catchy barrage of Feeder like �oos�. �Doctor Doctor� is more grungy, but again incorporates metal elements. Most definitely not my cup of tea, but would do well amongst the Kerrang generation.

Vicki Cole

Starky

Is This How It Ends / Hey Bang Bang

Do Australia�s customs people have a strict style control over the bands the country exports? In recent years few bands have emerged from down under flaunting anything other than this brand of incredibly dull �new car smell� rock. (The exceptions being maybe The Sleepy Jackson, The Grates and The Vines; but The Grates� singer terrifies me and Craig Nicholls and co. have long since lost their initial vitality.) These are passable tunes, but about as far removed from the car-crash spirit of rock and roll as the genre can get. �Hey Bang Bang� shoots for the same universal emotive mark as �Run�. And it�s a fair effort, but does nothing to stir the soul of this reviewer.

Steve Turkingon

The Pack

Vans

Wow, this was not what I was expecting I thought to myself. Then I realised I hadn�t actually put the promo CD of this on and was listening to Edinburgh hip-hop act 3Style from last year�s T-Break sampler which was still in the machine. True story. Vans, the debut single from hip-hop�s next big thing was not as impressive. Very much influenced by Snoop Dogg, the lyrics lack intelligence and the beats are repetitive with an annoying chorus. They�ll probably be huge.

Kirk Burton